A whole-food, plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of foods sourced from plants, including but not limited to vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits. Plant-based diets usually include very few or no animal products, and not all plant based-diets are vegetarian or vegan. The term whole food describes foods that have not been heavily processed. This includes whole, unrefined or minimally refined ingredients.
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Individuals may choose to eat a gluten-free diet for a variety of reasons. For those who suffer with celiac disease and other gluten related health conditions, eating gluten free is critical to ensure better health. For some, consuming gluten can trigger immune system activity that damages the lining of the small intestine over time. This damage eventually prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. For those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivities, wheat allergies or other gluten related conditions, consuming gluten may also cause unpleasant symptoms such as stomach upset, headaches, aching joints, general body inflammation and other issues.
People choose to follow a vegan lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Many people elect to follow a plant-based diet due to concerns about the environment or worries about animal rights. Others may follow a vegan eating pattern due to religious beliefs or other personal views. Health issues and overall health awareness may also prompt some to follow a vegan diet. Most people have more than one reason for choosing this form of vegetarianism. Some follow vegan eating plans for years or for a lifetime, and some alternate between vegan eating and other alternative eating plans.
Vegan diets are not a new option, but a lifestyle change that has received a resurgence in recent years. The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson in 1944 when he started the Vegan Society in England. The movement started with vegetarians who refrained from eating eggs and dairy products, but later morphed to include a lifestyle that refrained from exploiting animals.